A plea for the government to scrap "populist soundbites" has been issued after research renewed fears about the possible impact of its post-Brexit immigration policy on hospitality.
A survey of tourism and hospitality businesses conducted by UKinbound and Canterbury Christ Church University found that 75% of operators believed that the proposals would impact negatively on their ability to remain competitive.
The government's proposals centre around a distinction between what it has dubbed ‘high-skilled' and ‘low-skilled' workers, terming that has angered many across the sector. The proposed salary threshold is £30,000, significantly above the average £23,000 full-time salary for the industry.
The survey also found that 65% of operators feel such a policy could negatively impact their ability to operate, with 68% citing the domestic labour market as the key reason for the continued need for EU workers.
Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound said: "This timely research shows that the government must listen to the tourism industry before committing to an immigration system that runs the risk of forcing businesses to close throughout the UK. Our tourism industry is vital to the UK economy and EU workers are crucial to ensuring that this success story continues. We have a skills shortage in the UK, caused not least by low levels of language skills and a lack of interest amongst UK nationals in the sector.
"The government must, as a first step, ensure that language skills are recognised as a key skills shortage and ensure that any future immigration system is rooted in what actually works and not in populist soundbites."